January 27, 2015

Are drones in the future for real estate?

by Latife Hayson

Industry experts are asking; are drones in the future for real estate? Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are currently used on a very limited basis for law enforcement, national security, and scientific purposes. The use of drones in real estate has been a hot topic in brokerage firms throughout the country. What we do know is that property owners only own 83 feet above ground. Sotheby’s International Realty has advised realtors that they can no longer use drones in their real estate marketing campaigns until The Federal Aviation Administration mandates their use. But change is on the horizon.

The FAA is busy drafting regulations that will govern the commercial use of drones. Today, commercial drone operators must apply for an exemption from existing regulations. Just last week, two more regulatory exemptions were granted that allow expanded commercial use of drones, bringing the total to 16 grants. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 tasked the FAA with implementing clear-cut regulations allowing for the commercial use of UAVs, by no later than September 30, 2015.

With that in mind, experts are predicting it won’t be long before drones take off in the real estate sector as well as other businesses. Added to new regulations is the fact that more companies are specializing in the sale of UAVs and UAV parts, which will make drones much easier to acquire and use. Drones are also becoming more affordable. A UAV newbie could find a small drone and camera online for a little over $1,000.

For now, if you are planning to buy or sell any property, don’t count on your Realtor to use a drone in the sales process. In fact, The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently cautioned its members “that the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for real estate marketing is currently prohibited by the Federal Aviation Administration. Such prohibited use of unmanned aerial vehicles may lead to the assessment of substantial fines and penalties.”

But NAR made it clear that it “supports efforts to create new federal regulations to allow for the future commercial use [of drones] by the real estate industry.” And the FAA is listening. Early this month, it granted the first regulatory exemption for real estate photography.

At the rate that technology is progressing, there’s no telling what the UAV industry will look like in years to come. Experts say in just five years we’ll see things that we never thought possible with drones. Object avoidance, inter-vehicular communication, swarming logic, vision processing and other innovations are right around the corner. So is the use of drones in real estate. It is actually mind-boggling to speculate on everything that a drone can do.

If you are looking to buy the perfect luxury home, estate, vineyard or winery in Napa Valley, you don’t have to wait until drones become common in the real estate process. Please call me at 707-738-4820 or email me at [email protected] and be sure to LIKE me on Facebook.

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